In the first post about Baby Quinn’s arrival, I told you all about her actual birth. I had not gone into labor naturally, so this was really an exciting event!
There’s another reason I’m sharing this story with you though. Baby Quinn couldn’t keep her sugar level up after birth, and it got to the point where she was too low for the doctors to feel comfortable – also known as Hypoglycemia. I honestly don’t remember the exact numbers.
Within 3 hours of her birth, she wasn’t able to stay in the hospital room with me anymore, but had to be taken to the Special Care Nursery. I was so upset – don’t get me wrong, I completely understood why she had to go back there and that the doctor’s were doing what they needed to do to ensure Quinn got the best start in life. As my husband said to the doctor “Do what you need to do, short term pain for the long term gain.” If Quinn’s sugar kept falling, it could have caused brain damage or even cause Quinn to crash.
They took Quinn back and put her on a sugar drip, in hopes that they could ween her off of that as my milk came in. A day and a half later (with me waking up every 3 hours to go to the nursery and feed her), as pregnancy hormones dropped and wild swings hit, more (in my mind) bad news – while the sugar drip was working, because my milk hadn’t come in yet, they weren’t able to ween her off of it, and the longer she stayed on it, the longer she was away from me. One thing no one told me, as a diabetic mother, it would take longer for my milk to come in. They wanted me to supplement.
I felt like a failure. You are probably thinking that I over reacted – and I’ll be the first to admit, I probably did. One of the amazing parts of modern day medicine is that, if we need to supplement, we can! I am grateful that formula exists because it helped my baby when I needed it. When I say I felt like a failure…I thought I had done everything right. My sugar was SO well controlled with this pregnancy, it didn’t seem fair that Quinn had to go through this. There are things that happen during pregnancies that mothers have no control over, and they can’t blame themselves. This though – I was in tight control 99% of the time. This had everything to do with what I was eating, how I was exercising right? It was, in my mind, the biggest moment of personal failure in my life – because it was affecting my precious, innocent baby.
There was this amazing nurse though, Catherine, and thank God she was my nurse during this time. She knew exactly what to say to me. When I was finally able to explain what had made me so upset, she smiled and she said “This baby is incredibly lucky that you’re her mom – she’s going to thrive. When I see a chart that says the mom has gestational diabetes, I think there is already a 30% chance I will have that baby in the Special Care Nursery. You having Type II diabetes, I bump that up to 60-70%. The odds were incredibly stacked against you. But your care during your pregnancy, and the way you controlled your sugar did help – this could have been worse. Your dedication kept it from being worse.”
And then my mom brought tears to my eyes. She told me how proud of me she was for how strict I was with my diet – she didn’t know if she would have been able to do that. She would have though, because it wasn’t about me and what I wanted at that point. Everything I ate affected my baby and it was up to me to give Quinn the best possible start. I made the changes I needed to for her – and my mom is the person I learned that from. There was nothing more healing in that moment than knowing that the person who taught me the selflessness of motherhood was proud of me for just that.
I share this with you for inspiration. There are going to be moments in your journey filled with pure elation about how far you’ve come, when those numbers are working, and you feel amazing. And there will be moments in the journey filled with the gut wrenching pain of failure. You have to keep working, and keep trying. Believe in yourself and that you can do this.
I have to give a huge shout out to my husband Mark here though. He was my rock. He saw me faltering and crumbling and he lifted me back up. He knew exactly what I needed to hear to get back on track. A support system is huge when you’re battling something with such long term effects and I am incredibly lucky to have the support system I have.
Until the next, I wish you strength,